Easily the most important piece of furniture in your house, the bed makes it so you can get rest to work, decorate and stay healthy. But this piece of furniture also comes with what seems a zillion choices and the need for a lot of cash. Whether you're in a new, bare apartment, or you need new sheets, browse our tips for helping you make your bed.• 1 Start with a Bed Frame, or Not
We'll start by assuming you already have a bed frame and maybe a headboard, since these choices are very personal choices. (Just in case, we think these are the basic frame decisions: Metal frame to hide with skirts? Wood frame to last a lifetime? Refinished traditional off of Craigslist? New modern from IKEA or West Elm?)
If you don't have, or want, a bed frame at all, check out our tips for bed-on-the-floor-on-purpose-look.
• 2 Choose a Mattress and Box Spring
Check out Austin contributor Adrienne Breaux's tips for choosing a mattress. If you have a platform bed, you don't have to use or buy a box spring (although using the box spring is necessary for some warranties.
• 3 Protect Your Mattress
Choose a mattress cover to protect your mattress from dirt and spills. We got one with a pillow top to give our mattress a little more comfort.
• 4 Learn Thread Counts and Choose Sheets
Julian Tomchin, Macy's former product developer, explains what thread count even means and warns us to be suspicious of thread counts over 400. He prefers cotton sheets, and a thread count in the range of 220 to 350.
As for colors and patterns, that's up to you. We prefer to have one crisp white set, one subtle pattern and one dark-colored set.
• 5 Cover Your Box Spring
Platform bed or no, we suggest covering your boxspring with a fitted sheet or cover. Chez Laarson also offers a how to for making a simple bedskirt.
• 6 Choose a Duvet
If you prefer piles of blankets or a comforter to a duvet and cover, skip to 6. For the rest of you, read on. Many people go with one summer-weight down duvet, and one winter-weight. We go for one winter-weight duvet, and then in the summer, use sheets and a quilt. When choosing duvets, pay attention to allergenic options, if you have allergies, and pay attention to the weight on the packaging to make sure you're choosing warmth appropriate to your climate. We go with a medium-weight duvet and then pile on more blankets if we're cold, because then the duvet can be put on earlier in the fall and last later into the spring.
• 7 Make your Bed
Choose the way that suits you best. We like crispness to our bed-making, so we try for hospital corners. Some ribbed us for our method, but the orderliness to our sheets has gone up 100 percent. No more accidentally untucking sheets at night. If you want a crisper method, there are lots of how tos for hospital corners on the Web.
Ultimately, the decisions you make must be personal and perfect for your lifestyle, and you'll learn what you like as you go. For example, we learned that our favorite sheets in the summer (which we spent lots of time researching) feel frigid in the winter. We also learned that while we like throw pillows on the bed, four throws plus four sleeping pillow was too many — we're now down to six total, instead of eight.
Want more tips for your bed? Ask us or search our archives. Happy bed making!